The tone is set at the top
We will pay for years for rallying behind the army - for considering it "part of us" and that "we are the ones who sent them," not the government.
Should the Bosnian Serb commanders have been brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague for shelling Sarajevo? It seems that most of Israel's liberal community thinks so. A decision would be made on whether the circumstances permitted shelling; a court is needed to investigate such things because national communities do away with "permitted" and "forbidden" when it comes to the other side. Should the view that senior Israel Defense Forces officers be brought to trial be supported? In Israel the people supporting a trial for the shellers of Sarajevo will refuse to extradite Israeli officers to The Hague.
Our liberal community lacks the courage to draw a red line between itself and the actions in Gaza, to its detriment. We will pay for years for rallying behind the army - for considering it "part of us" and that "we are the ones who sent them," not the government. The lack of distinction between the government and the common people stems from the lack of moral criticism of the army and a point of departure that morality is a luxury - a view that needs to be dropped, as should other impediments.
Now that the elections are threatening to raise Avigdor Lieberman to the status of national leader, it is worth remembering: The tone is set at the top.
For example, the Second Lebanon War was investigated for a long time - all those things that "worked out for us" or "did not work out for us." The alleged war crimes carried out in that war were not even mentioned in the Winograd Report. Wiping out a neighborhood in Beirut, the killing of toddlers at Qana, the use of cluster bombs - none of this was investigated. Revulsion from the war turned into revulsion about the failure.
The attitude toward Haim Ramon characterizes the way the war was swept under the rug and paved the way for the Gaza atrocity. His calls to raze villages in Lebanon went by without protest. On the other hand, he was reprimanded for a kiss he forced on a female officer. No one is demanding an investigation into his role in the Gaza war or his fiery public statements on the need to continue striking mercilessly.
It's not the street that sets the tone. The street adopts, as part of its ethos, whatever the government and the army do. This is a good explanation for our moderates' helplessness after the war. On the face of it, they support the war, partly as a way to improve their political standing in relation to the right. But then they are surprised when the "moderate general" does not rise in the polls. The one who improves is the one who barked, "Get them!" As if there were a difference.
When our artillery bombs children, and the government and all its spokespeople ask us to regard these acts as a "victory," and when the moderates can't create a counter-discourse in time and are dragged into supporting the war as if they were unaware of its results, the smoke rises in the figure of Avigdor Lieberman. It rises in his racist ad, "Lieberman knows Arabic," to teach you that Arabic is not actually a language that one needs to know, but a fist.
Where does this ethos of thugs come from? Out of the old order, except that in the past these types of expressions were not part of the recognized system. Statements like "He knows how to talk with the Arabs the language they understand," were normally kept behind closed doors. One hand did unacceptable things, and the other dished out verses of condemnation by Nathan Alterman.
Meanwhile, there is no shame. If the war in Gaza is nothing to be ashamed of, reflecting the collective identification with our heroic army, why would Lieberman's supporters be embarrassed to support him? Lieberman is the racist logic taking over our lives, the thinking that we are allowed to do anything to them because they are not allowed to do anything to us. We are the masters. These are the results of the war and the elections.